For the past 20 years, Liquid Architecture has been Australia’s leading organisation for artists working with sound and listening. LA investigates the sounds themselves, but also the ideas communicated about, and the meaning of, sound and listening.
Our program stages encounters and creates spaces for sonic experience, and critical reflection on sonority and systems of sonic affect. To do this, we host experiences at the intersection of contemporary art and experimental music, supporting artists to produce performances and concerts, exhibitions, talks, reading groups, workshops and recordings in art spaces, music venues and other sites.
Liquid Architecture is curatorially driven and our methodology embraces research, collaborations and imaginations. We want to echo beyond local conversations, problems, debates and questions, to reverberate across media and disciplines, and so to sound out new discourses about the audible world, and beyond.
We acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the sovereign owners of the country where we live and work, and recognise that sovereignty has not been ceded. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging.
GEORGIA HUTCHISON is a cultural development practitioner and arts executive in Naarm/Melbourne, working with Liquid Architecture since 2017. Her practice as an artist, educator, organiser and strategist crosses contemporary art, music, design and social justice. Previous to LA’s prolific international program, she has independently worked with partners including Asialink Arts, National Association for the Visual Arts, MONA, RMIT University, U-P, Molonglo Group.
JOEL STERN is a curator, researcher, and artist living and working on Wurundjeri land in Melbourne, Australia. Stern’s work deals with a range of issues, themes and questions connected with theories and practises of sound and listening. Interests include: sound, power and control; covert listening and panacoustic surveillance; polyphony as social practice; experimental music and community ritual; speech, voice, subjectivity; eavesdropping and ventriloquism; techno-politics of machine listening; rhetorics of nonsense and bullshit; pandemic soundscapes; acoustic justice; silence as testimony; post, trans, and non-human listening. Since 2013, Stern has been Artistic Director at Liquid Architecture, a leading Australian organisation that creates spaces for sonic experience and critical listening at the intersection of contemporary art and experimental music. In this capacity he has been responsible for hundreds of festivals, symposia, exhibitions, concerts and publications realised in Australia and internationally, with collaborators ranging from major museums and institutions through to community organisations and artist-led initiatives. In addition to Liquid Architecture, Stern has led numerous independent organisations including: OtherFilm, a collective working with artists moving image and the legacy of avant-garde cinema; and Instrument Builders Project, a workshop, residency, exhibition series featuring artists, musicians and craftspeople from across Australia and Asia. In 2018, with critical legal scholar James Parker, Stern curated Eavesdropping, an expansive project connecting Liquid Architecture, Melbourne Law School, Ian Potter Museum of Art, and City Gallery Wellington, which comprised exhisbitions, public programs, working groups, tours, and a publication, addressing the ‘politics of listening’ through work by artists, researchers, writers, detainees and activists from Australia and around the world. Stern’s PhD thesis ‘Eavesdropping: The Politics, Ethics, and Art of Listening’ was completed through the Curatorial Practice program at Monash University, where he also teaches on sonic art.
DEBRIS FACILITY PTY LTD is a queer Corporate Entity which entangles itself with Bodies, Complicating their Borders with Haptic Interfaces. Wearables act as Extensions to broader installation practices, and move Parasitically with their Hosts through Differing Terrains. The Transmutation of Industrial Materials into Situations, Installations and jewellery Implicates our Consumption within global Supply Chains, highlighting Transitory processes and Exchanges.
ALISA BLAKENEY is a curator from Western Australia. She has presented exhibitions and projects at Taipei Artist Village, Stedelijk Museum, De Appel, Tate Modern, Goldsmiths, Paper Mountain, and Bunbury Regional Art Gallery.
JENNIFER BARRY is a creative professional with over 25 years' experience leading arts organisations, managing creative projects, devising public programs, and producing the work of artists, nationally and internationally. She has held a range of leadership positions including Footscray Community Arts Centre (Director/CEO), Shunpike (Executive Director /USA), Chunky Move (Executive Producer/Co-CEO), Federation Square (Manager, Public Programs), the Australian Institute of Arts Management (Executive Director), and the Arts Management Advisory Group of Victoria (Executive Director). As a consultant and project manager, she has worked with all levels of government, and numerous organisations, undertaking strategic planning, conducting stakeholder engagement, and managing business development initiatives. Clients have included the Australia Council for the Arts, Arts Victoria (now Creative Victoria), the City of Melbourne, the Australian Art Orchestra, the Australian Network for Art and Technology, and the Royal Children's Hospital, among many others. Jennifer has served on numerous not-for-profit boards and advisory committees.
NAOMI VELAPHI is an arts producer and programmer interested in contemporary, interdisciplinary arts practice. She is currently the Program Producer for the Australian Performing Arts Market (APAM) and also has an independent practice with a strong commitment to working with culturally diverse artists. She has held producing roles both independently and for a number of arts institutions including Arts Centre Melbourne, Arts House, Koorie Heritage Trust and the Abbotsford Convent. Naomi has over 10 years of experience in the industry and has worked across all facets of arts production including, curation, funding and budget management and audience development. She is currently a part of the Australia Council Arts Leadership Program, holds a Masters of Arts and Cultural Management from the University of Melbourne and holds a Bachelor of Arts (Communications) from Curtin University.
KRISTEN SMITH is a non-practicing lawyer with over a decade of experience focused on large scale commercial litigation and class actions. She currently works as an Investment Manager for international litigation financier, Omni Bridgeway, having previously worked for Slater and Gordon in their Commercial and Project Litigation team. She has also worked at Dundas & Wilson (now CMS) in Scotland and as an Associate to the Supreme Court of Victoria’s Associate Justice Efthim. In 2004, she was awarded the Victoria Law Foundation Chief Justice’s Medal for Excellence and Community Service. She has previously served on the boards of the Australian Communities Foundation and the EastWeb foundation and is currently Vice President of the Melbourne Electronic Sound Studio (MESS) board.
MARK NOLEN is a Certified Practising Accountant with extensive experience in the creative industries sector. He is currently Management Accountant at the Australian Centre of the Moving Image, having previously worked in a similar role at Film Victoria. Along the way he has helped countless singers, actors and even clowns get their taxes in order – no laughing matter! When not crunching numbers, you can find Mark sitting back with a fine drop of Scottish Whisky soaking up some even finer tunes.
DAVID CHESWORTH is an artist and composer, known for his experimental, and at times minimalist music, who has worked with electronics, contemporary ensembles, film, theatre and experimental opera. Together with Sonia Leber, Chesworth has created installation artworks using sound, video, architecture and public participation. Exhibitions include ‘56th Venice Biennale (2015), ‘19th Biennale of Sydney (2014), and ‘Melbourne Now’, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2013-14). Festivals featuring Chesworth’s music and sound works include Ars Electronica, Festival D’Automne de Paris, Bang on a Can Marathon, New York, Sydney Biennale, Adelaide and Melbourne Festivals and MONA FOMA. Early in his career he was co-founder of post-punk band Essendon Airport and for five years was coordinator of the Clifton Hill Community Music Centre in Melbourne. David Chesworth joined the Liquid Architecture Board in 2015.
HANNAH FOX is an artist, curator and creative producer working in the fields of sound, public art, contemporary music and live art. She founded creative partnership Supple Fox, delivered four years of programs as Artistic Associate for Contemporary Music at Melbourne Festival, and was Associate Creative Director of Mona’s winter festival Dark Mofo. In July 2019, along with Gideon Obarzanek, Hannah was appointed as Director and joint CEO of Rising – the newly remodelled and launched festival for Melbourne. Her tenure extends from 2020 till 2023. In parallel to her curatorial endeavours, Hannah has ventured into developing her own artistic practice in collaboration with artist Byron J Scullin and Thomas Supple. In June 2017, the group presented Siren Song: a large-scale, outdoor sonic artwork that fills the skies of a city, which continues to be remounted in cities around the world.
MICHAEL GRAEVE is a Castlemaine-based visual and sound artist. Working from easel painting through installation to sound performance, he engages painting and sound art practices in dialogue, extending frameworks for their creation and reading, and creating oscillations of conjunctive and disjunctive relations. He exhibits and performs internationally and has held over 25 solo exhibitions. His work has been reviewed in Artforum International, Eyeline, Real Time and Art/Text as well as in books by Ros Bandt and Caleb Kelly. He is a senior lecturer at RMIT University and holds a PhD. He was a Samstag scholar studying at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and has been awarded residencies in Vienna and New York. Michael has been a board member of Liquid Architecture Sound Inc since 2007, and was previously a board member and program manager at West Space Inc and a founding committee member of Grey Area Art Space Inc.
MONICA LIM oversees Fame Agenda, a casual women’s retail brand with presence in various department stores in Indonesia. With her husband, Konfir Kabo, she runs a portfolio of fuel retail sites across Australia, and is co-founder of Project Eleven: a philanthropic initiative supporting contemporary art projects with a focus on new commissions and cross-cultural projects. She previously practiced as a Tax Consultant at HLB Mann Judd and as Tax Manager at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu between 2000-2006. Monica is a classical pianist with an interest in experimental and multidisciplinary forms of expression, and is completing her degree in Interactive Composition at the University of Melbourne. She has produced work for White Night, Melbourne Fringe and Arts Centre Melbourne and is working on projects for Arts House, Multicultural Arts Victoria, Ensemble Offspring and Ars Musica, Brussels. She currently sits on the Events Committee for the Melbourne Recital Centre. She has two sons, aged 14 and 16.
ANDY MILLER currently works as the General Manager of Multicultural Arts Victoria. Initially trained as a painter at the Canberra School of Art, Andy Miller worked in theatre for a number of years before working to establish arts programs in the community sector. Following a few years as an arts and cultural officer at two local governments, Andy began a career in the state public service in various senior roles at Arts Victoria and Creative Victoria and was seconded for a period with Creative Partnerships Australia, as Senior Programs Manager. As well as a Bachelor in Fine Arts, he has a Masters in Public Policy and a Graduate Diploma in Arts Management from the University of Melbourne.
We welcome conversation, ideas and feedback at any time.
104/35 Johnston Street
Collingwood VIC 3066
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Born in 1947, Michel Chion is a composer, filmmaker, historian and writer – and arguably the world’s foremost thinker on sound in cinema.
In the 1970s he was a member of the Groupe de Recherches Musicales (GRM), the influential collective led by composer and theoretician Pierre Schaeffer dedicated to furthering the art of ‘musique concrète’ through experiments in audiovisual communication, audible phenomena and music in general. It was at the GRM that Chion composed arguably his most famous work, Requiem, a noisy and surreal deconstruction of the Funeral Mass made whilst pondering the “troubled minority of the living, rather than the silent majority of the dead.”
Since the 1980s, Chion has written extensively on the relationship of sound and image in the cinema, publishing in 1990 what many consider the definitive theoretical guide to the subject, Audio-Vision: Sound on Screen. In this momentous book, Chion advances a whole new lexicon for describing audio-visual concepts, via the works of Jacques Tati, Alfred Hitchcock, Jean-Luc Godard and others. On reading, film scholar Claudia Gorbman was moved to name him “a poet in theoretician’s clothing.”
For this program, Michel Chion will perform an epic two-and-a-half-hour concert for ten surround-speakers featuring the classic composition Requiem (1973) alongside two new audiovisual compositions, The Scream (2017), and Third Symphony (2016).
notes by Michel Chion
A CONCERT IN TWO PARTS
1: LE CRI, 2017, 17 ‘ and REQUIEM, 1973, 37’26
2: THIRD SYMPHONY, audio-divisive, 2016, 88 ‘
The first part of this concert comprises two works of musique concrète for ‘fixed’ sounds, with the projection of a blank image, intended to create a listening frame and to display the English subtitles of the text that is heard. The second part proposes an “audio-divisive” music, consisting of silent images, sounds on a blank background, and images and sounds synchronised in different ways.
Image: Michel Chion, R. Cahen and R. Cochini at GRM, 1974
LE CRI (The Scream)
Musique concrète for two-track video-audio 2017.
World Premiere. 17 ‘
By definition, in musique concrète (that is, music for fixed sounds), anything can arise at any moment from the loudspeaker, sounds from which we can not be protected—since we possess no natural eyelids for sound—but also sound with no frame, which spreads into space, even when it comes from a single source. The scream will not be heard much, but the scream will be awaited; it will be proposed in small pieces, as when one revolves around a sculpture, a volume. My project is to make a work in which there is no impression of a linear discourse, but rather the exploration of a space while maintaining a great tension. But it is not a tragic scream (as in the famous painting of Edvard Munch), rather a scream of life ….
This work was done in my personal studio, combining the tape recorder (for creating sounds) and the computer (for final editing). It is presented in a new form: with a title on a black screen and in silence, to create an ‘interval’ of time before the work begins, and to allow the work to begin in an atmosphere of concentration. The screen then remains black throughout the duration of the listening.
M.C., April 9, 2017
Musique concrète for two-track video-audio. In two stages and ten movements, based on texts of the Mass of the Funerals 1973.
First performance of the version with English subtitles. 37’26”
Requiem as a whole is built on a system of echoes and correspondences that seem to be symmetrically organised around an axis represented by the work’s middle point. The form was developed in the course of the process, as a dramatic scheme that played off the listener’s memory and premonitions, since once the listener has heard the work more than once, they can predict as well as recall. Echoes and correspondences of what? Themes, musical motives, ranging from the most elemental (a loop, raw matter) to the most elaborated (a musical development), and which are reprised, quoted or announced at various moments of the work – some are easily identifiable as “leitmotivs” (theme-chorus from the Dies Irae quoted in the finale), while others are accompanying motives, matter that does not need to be memorised at a conscious level. An extreme case of such echo effect is found in the short movements 2 & 9, which use almost the same “music” cast under completely opposite sound lighting. The centre of the work, the axis of that symmetry, is the 6th movement Evangile, where happens a symbolical tear in the magnetic tape, a crack in the work itself, opening in the timeline a breach of eternity that lets us glimpse “something else.”
Within this large form in two parts, we find the small forms of each movement: forms with choruses and episodes, litanies, recitativo, levelled crescendos, etc. There is also another formal course delineated by the succession of several vocal characters, their timbre, intonation, and relation to the libretto. The only time a well-assured, peremptory voice is clearly heard is, once again, at that central moment in Evangile (“il va ressusciter” or “he will rise”), where its irruption seems to spread panic throughout the whole system and provoke the breach…
Like the requiems of the classical era, this Requiem‘s text is taken from the Funeral Mass, to which are added an Epistle, a Gospel and a Pater Noster. The texts are mostly said in their original language (Latin or Greek) and in French, in some rare cases. The Requiem was composed whilst thinking about the troubled minority of the living, rather than the silent majority of the dead. I tried to turn this oratorio into a “great sonic show,” cinemascope music. One can detect the obvious (at least to me) influence of filmmakers and films, more in the play of forms, time and space, as opposed to realistic evocations. Thomas Mann’s Doktor Faustus was an influence, again acknowledged after the fact; the pages spent describing the imaginary works of Adrian Leverkühn might have inspired the megalomaniac dream of carrying bits and pieces of them into the sound world.
With Requiem, my intention was not to deliver a message or a manifesto, whether pro- or anti-religious. Instead, this work is a personal testimony, into which listeners are invited to project their own self, if they care to inhabit it with their own experience and sensibility.
1er temps: 1. Introït – 2. Kyrie Eleison – 3. Epître – 4. Dies Irae – 5. Offertoire – 6. Evangile
2ème temps: 7. Sanctus – 8. Agnus Dei – 9. Lux aeterna – 10. Libera me
Voices: André Allag, Michèle Bokanowski, Caroline, Laure et Pierre Bruas, Robert Cahen, M.C., Catherine Colas, Jean-Pierre Colas, Catherine Guérin, Bernard Guillochon, Geneviève Julien-Labruyère, L’Ensemble vocal Le Madrigal, dir. Rachid Safir.
Image: Michel Chion and Pierre Schaeffer presenting the Guide to Sound Objects, 1984
THIRD SYMPHONY, Audio-divisive
Work on video-audio for fixed sounds (two tracks) and fixed images (one screen), in ten movements. 2016.
First performance of the version with English subtitles. 1h28 ‘
After two symphonies of musique concrète, including La Vie en Prose, 2010 (published by Brocoli), I wanted to create an “enlarged” symphony with projected images, in the manner that the Ninth of Beethoven or the Third of Mahler were expanded with solo singers and choirs. Despite the high number of movements, the symphonic form is prevalent: a very developed Scherzo, a Largo desolato which corresponds to a slow and funereal meditation, and a last movement that functions like a Finale. And above all, the term symphony embodies the idea of a work, which has meaning only as a composition, a whole.
I have invented the term “audio-divisive” to make it clear that what I called “audio-vision” in 1990, that is, the perception of simultaneous sounds and images, is certainly more than a simple addition, but also the opposite of a fusion where everything would amalgamate. In this work, sounds and images are proposed together or separately: certain movements are acousmatic (without vision of the source), other athorybes (moving images without corresponding sounds), the majority audio-divisive, according to various formulas. For example, in the Café movement, where I capture a whole five minutes of images and sounds from a Parisian bistro, without changing anything, we have audio-division in the roughest sense of everyday experience, since most of what is heard – the boss, customers – happens outside the visual field, while the sound of much of what we see through the glass is masked by this barrier, and by the urban uproar!
Within this Third Symphony, I also wanted to share my Earth Mass (1992-96), which is rainy, slow and meditative, more solar and familiar, with no religious references. The beautiful “questions of children” discussing with their teacher in the movement VIII, are questions of everyone and for everyone, and give spirit to this work.
M.C., summer 2016
1. Floating element, prologue (audio-divisive)
2. Generic (athorybe)
3. Allegro Animato (mainly acousmatic)
4.5.6. Three interiors: Café (audio-divisuel) – Studio (athorybe) – Room (audio-divisuel)
7. Scherzo Vivace in ten variations (audio-divisive)
8. Intermezzo Anatoribico (audio-divisive)
9. Largo Desolato in memory of Christiane Sacco, writer (1939-1999) (acousmatic)
10. Final, in four external (audio-divisive).
Sound and visual creation, editing and production: M.C.
With the precious help, for the digital finishing, of Jérôme Bloch and Geoffroy Montel.
Commissioned by Motus for the Futura Festival, August 2016 in Crest, France.
Presented by Liquid Architecture, Melbourne International Film Festival, ACMI and Institut FrançaisWe acknowledge the Wurundjeri, Boonwurrung, Taungurong, Dja Dja Wurrung and the Wathaurung people of the Kulin Nation as the custodians of the land in which this event takes place, and we recognise that sovereignty was never ceded. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging.